December 28,2016

I am 60 years right now, soon to be 61.

I have noticed how people sometimes treat me differently now. They do not see me or hear me as they once did.

Sometimes they will talk down to me.

I witnessed this kind of thing when I was in my 30s. I was even part of it myself when I gleefully read a poem out loud about how getting older can means more emissions from our — ahem — intestines, belly?

Mostly, though, I was educated by the negativity of ageism by the seniors who took “Writing your Life Story” workshops from me.

The following poem is dedicated to the first friends I made when I began to facilitate these workshops at the Age and Opportunity Centre in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba:

Contemporary Verse 2
Spring 1993
by Tanya Lester


(To friends in St. Vital)

The day started green
Luke, my three-year-old, running behind
ahead of me

As I walked along the Red where it forks with the Assiniboine
I breathed slowly
evenly again

An oriole flashed yellow

They came in wheelchairs, six of them, each with an attendant
We ere just in time for a show
Put on by one of the attendants
“Did you bring your bathing suit?”. he asked
Leaning over to look into the eyes of one old woman
Speaking like I do with Luke
It was a joke but no one was laughing at a young man treating
An elderly woman like she was a child

“No,” she said in the same voice she had used before
and then some
I will give you nothing, that voice said
I gave already
To the heart fund
To the church bake sales
To my husband
To my son
To my dying mother

I saw her waves of red anger

For information on what Tanya does now, go to or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or contact her directly at or call 250-538-0086.


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